England v Scotland: Eddie Jones opts for Owen Farrell in fly-half role ahead of George Ford

Owen Farrell will start at stand-off for England against Scotland in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash as part of physical midfield selected for the Calcutta Cup showdown at Twickenham.
England have picked Owen Farrell in place of George Ford at fly-half to face Scotland. Picture: Marco Lacobucci/PA WireEngland have picked Owen Farrell in place of George Ford at fly-half to face Scotland. Picture: Marco Lacobucci/PA Wire
England have picked Owen Farrell in place of George Ford at fly-half to face Scotland. Picture: Marco Lacobucci/PA Wire

For the first time since the 2019 World Cup quarter-final victory over Australia, George Ford has dropped to the bench, making way for the more muscular trio of Farrell, Ollie Lawrence and Henry Slade.

Ford missed the start of the autumn because of an Achilles injury but having been restored to full fitness, he was picked as chief conductor for the victories over Wales and France.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It will be Lawrence’s fourth cap and first Six Nations appearance and the Worcester inside centre will be given the role of midfield battering ram at which he showed promise during the Autumn Nations Cup.

Apart from the adjustment made at fly-half and 12, Jones has retained the same backline that sent France spinning to defeat in sudden death at Twickenham two months ago.

The vacancy created by Sam Underhill’s hip injury sees Tom Curry move across the back row to openside and Mark Wilson slots in at blindside flanker for his first Test appearance since March.

Read More
England v Scotland: Time to cure travel sickness if we are to become a top team,...

Wilson has beaten Ben Earl to the available flanker position and the rising Saracens star, who is on loan at Bristol, continues to supply cover.

Courtney Lawes missed the entire autumn because of an ankle injury but he must settle for a replacement role with Jonny Hill preferred as Maro Itoje’s partner in the second row.

England’s depth at prop is tested by Kyle Sinckler’s ban for swearing at a referee and the unavailability of Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler, providing starting opportunities for Ellis Genge and Will Stuart.

Beno Obano is the only uncapped player in the 23 and the Bath loosehead will make his debut if he comes on for Genge.

England will face Scotland for the 139th time in a match that marks 150 years since the rivals clashed in the first ever international rugby match.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We’re really looking forward to this game and getting the Six Nations back underway. It’s even more special to be taking part in a 150th anniversary game, it will be a good occasion,” Jones said.

“It was difficult to pick the 23 players. We’ve had a really good week of training, it’s been very competitive but I’ve gone with what I feel is the strongest 23 for this week.

“The Six Nations is a short tournament, it’s a real sprint so we’ll need to be on the front foot straight away. We know Scotland will be raring to go – but so will we.”

Scotland will name their team at noon.

ENGLAND (v Scotland, Twickenham, Saturday, 4.45pm)

15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 47 caps)

14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 46 caps)

13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 34 caps)

12. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 3 caps)

11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 61 caps)

10. Owen Farrell (C) (Saracens, 88 caps)

9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 104 caps)

1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 23 caps)

2. Jamie George (Saracens, 54 caps)

3. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 8 caps)

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 43 caps)

5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 4 caps)

6. Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 19 caps)

7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 28 caps)

8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 56 caps)


16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 26 caps)

17. Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

18. Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)

19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 85 caps)

20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 8 caps)

21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 7 caps)

22. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 72 caps)

23. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 3 caps)

A message from the Editor:

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.